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The most successful brands regularly keep in touch and stay top of mind with their customers (end-users and channel partners) via blogs, newsletters and social media. With the advent of new Google search algorithms that reward content and consumer engagement, the stakes are higher than ever before. (See our blog on this topic.) To strengthen your brand and grow your business you need to keep in touch with your customer base – the right way. Read on and we will show you how.
Your Most Valuable Assets
We would argue that your existing and past customers are among your most valuable assets. Yes, right up there with your inventory, technologies and employees. These are people who have plunked down hard earned money to buy from you. Presumably they are happy with your brand or store and your products. You can leverage that happiness to sell them more stuff and at the same time build an army of advocates who will bring more customers to your brand.
Contact is the Key
The key is to stay in contact on a regular basis through email, social media and yes even old-fashioned snail mail. We see a number of CE companies using email and social media for customer outreach but it is almost always company propaganda – new products, new reviews, technology gibberish, etc. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being “sold to” but most brand-to-customer communication vehicles are purely propaganda – boring to everyone but you, and easy to tune out. But people will read content that informs, educates and entertains. Mix that sort of material into your communication vehicles and customers will be more likely to read your propaganda.
The Future of Our Industry is at Stake
Beyond being a means to better SEO and as a Trojan Horse to deliver your propaganda, good content serves a more vital purpose – to inspire consumers to use their audio and video systems more often. We are willing to bet there are hundreds of thousands of households with high quality audio systems that go largely unused.
The popular press never stops making fun of audiophiles and videophiles, ridiculing people who buy upscale products. They claim that nobody can hear the difference, that a $30 pair of earbuds or a table radio are all you need to enjoy music; that a $199 soundbar is all you need for TV sound, that a smartphone is a great way to watch TV. And now we have national TV ads telling people that mono sound is good enough. Fight back!
To combat this onslaught of mediocrity, we all need to remind our customers how much enjoyment quality AV gear can provide. We need to give them how-to articles to help them get the very best performance out of what they own now. We need help them become more informed and discerning consumers by cutting through the jargon and explaining the true meaning of specs. We need to encourage them to be quality A/V evangelists by demonstrating their systems for friends and neighbors. We need to keep our category and our brands top of mind. And most of all we need to inspire them to use their systems by introducing them to new recording artists, reminding them of music they had forgotten, recommending fascinating movies beyond the blockbusters and otherwise encouraging them to turn off the reality TV crap and enrich their lives with quality entertainment and art.
A Perfect Example
As an illustration, I recently read Light & Shade, interviews with Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page. In the book Page describes the recording and microphone techniques he used in making the innovative and immensely popular Led Zeppelin records. That inspired me to pull out my Zeppelin LPs and listen to them all over again, using the book as a guide. I spent more time using my 2-channel system in that week than I had in the previous month. During all that listening an insidious thought crept into my mind, “Maybe it is time to upgrade my phono preamp.” If you were to review that book in your next email newsletter how many more domino effects like my story would you start? If it produced even one additional phono preamp sale, wouldn’t you be thrilled?
Who Has the Time?
In evangelizing these concepts to business owners we typically hear “Yeah, I think you’re right, but I don’t have time for that. I’m spending my whole day making sales happen, designing new products, and putting out fires. Writing original content even once a month is a pipe dream.” We can feel your pain. In next week’s bonus blog we will explore the topic of How to Make Time and introduce you to an innovative new service that may let you have your cake and devour it too. Stay tuned!
Paul DiComo and Al Ballard are former Polk Audio and Definitive Technology marketing executives whose new company, CE Marketing Pros, helps CE companies market more effectively and stand out from the competition in a crowded and confusing marketplace.